axoxnxs ™ Anthony Jay Ptak
My apparatus frees the composer from the despotism of the twelve-note tempered piano scale.
- Lev Sergeivich Theremin, 1927
Anthony Jay Ptak is an altermodern artist and a composer born in Brooklyn, New York in 1970. He grew up near the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the RCA Radio Central testing facility. An inviolable autodidacticist, he has studied with Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits, Lydia Kavina, and Herbert Brün, and had technical consultations with Robert Moog. He performed at the First International Theremin Festival. He has been a guest theremin artist under director Scott Wyatt at the historic Experimental Music Studios at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2000. He was appointed visiting researcher in 2001, and participated in the C4A Computing for the Arts initiative for Fine and Applied Arts at UIUC. He taught sound art and musique concrète for new media artists at the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has presented at Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), School of the Art Institute, Chicago Cultural Center, St. Louis Art Museum, Krannert Art Museum, FFMUP Princeton University, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, Roulette Intermedium, The Kitchen, and Issue Project Room in New York. He was first introduced to the theremin in 1987 by improviser Eric Ross. He began playing an etherwave theremin kit 0017 in 1995. A. J. Ptak is a founding member of the New York Theremin Society. He currently resides in New York City and was a visiting scholar at NYU Department of Art and Art Professions. In fall 2008 he was admitted to the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at Tisch School of the Arts, (M.P.S. 2010.) He performed Live Bar-coding at NIME 2010 Sydney, Australia. In 2011 he joined adjunct faculty at NYU Department of Music. Anthony Ptak was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011.
Axoxnxs 7:00 © 2005
Video 2:11 © 2006
New music of this twenty-first century requires, in fact it necessitates, a non-music. Sound as art is an axis of information constrained only by our perceptive bandwidth, dismissive of all systems and parameter limitations.
- Anthony Ptak
Anthony Ptak performing Interference
Brain Cancer 2011
Diagnosed with CNS lymphoma, brain cancer in February 2011. In remission since August 2011 after undergoing chemotherapy.
Informodulation.08 48 inches x 72 inches on canvas.
New performance scheduled for 8:30pm on June 20th, 2009 at Roulette Intermedium. 20 Green Street, New York, NY. Details about this performance with Cyrus Pireh and David Means described here.
Presentation at Frog Design
A digital theremin presentation at Frog Design. 325 Hudson Street, New York, NY.
Works inspired by shortwave radio at 106BLDG30. Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 19, 2008. Curated by Bruce Tovsky.
The most anticipated 2008 performance at The Stone in East Village of New York City. Series curator Elliott Sharp. Scheduled for March 25, 2008 at 10:00 pm. Location is at the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street. Theremin antenna control of digital oscillators, software, and acousmatic sound.
Aelita at International House 3701 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA. February 9th 2008 at 8:00 pm. Theremin sound for film with Gene Coleman and Ensemble Noamnesia. Aelita, Queen of Mars. Russia, 1924. 100 min. Discussion and demonstration to follow screening and performance.
Addenda published January 2008 on Seasonal. Addenda series curator is Ben Owen. Photo plus audio file contributions. Aedan Hearing Test Incident New York City December, 2007. Recording April, 2007. Unprocessed. Copper Pipe in Grain Silo Elevator Urbana, Illinois.
Dual Theremins at Galapagos Art Space
Two theremins and electronic visual projections at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg Brooklyn on December 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm. Located at 70 North 6th Street Brooklyn, New York 11211. Javier Diez Ena, theremin. Anthony Ptak, theremin. Zach Layton, projections. Darmstadt Contemporary Music Series.
A Monochord Performance at Zebulon
Ensemble featuring monochord by Ptak in improv performance with Cyrus Pireh on alto sax, Matt Mehlan on alto sax, and Tony Lowe on guitar at Zebulon Cafe Concert in Williamsburg Brooklyn on November 14, 2007 at 10:00 pm.
NY Phonography Meeting III
New York Phonographers at 6th Street and Avenue B Community Garden, Lower East Side, New York City, NY. September 30, 2007 at 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Between Thought and Sound
The Kitchen 512 West 19th Street New York, NY. Exhibition September 7 through October 20, 2007. Between Thought and Sound: Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music. Opening reception on Friday September 7, 2007 at 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.
Exploring the intersection of drawing and sound, this show includes experimental scores by more than twenty contemporary composers who relinquish traditional musical notation in favor of their own invented visual systems of pictorial or graphic elements.
Curated by Alex Waterman, Debra Singer, and Matthew Lyons.
Miguel Abreu Gallery 36 Orchard Street New York, NY (between Canal and Hester) June 3 through July 28. Performance July 12, 2007 at 7:30 pm.
Version for Miguel Abreu Gallery New York, NY 2007
Program note by Anthony Jay Ptak (b. 1970)
In a public space where people are speaking, and not necessarily to one another, there are messages being sent. Each utterance of sound is a transmission, a reception, an exchange offset by noise. A moment of speech is an incident. When these moments, or indices, coincide they are coincident. Coincident relations are not intentioned. They occur in the recognition of our perception of a system of relations. A coincident dichotomy can produce a third object, out of difference, that would not have otherwise been perceived. The action of observation produces an affect on that system which is being observed. Compositional practice (that is message transmission and reception) is dependant on an axiom, a mutable operand of distraction, as an audience listens for this message.
37th Festival Synthese Bourges
37th Festival Synthese Bourges June 10, 2007. Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, France. Melancholy - Projet Oeuvre Ouverte.
The Sympathetic (2007) Duration: 5:00 minutes Composer: Anthony Jay Ptak
Program Note: The Sympathetic refers to the sympathy of others, as well as to sympathetic vibrations in sound. Melancholy is the transitory resonance or emotional affect of this work. In this sound space it is hoped that the work alters the human spirit in musical consolation. Although the elapsed time of this composition is five minutes, the perceived duration is infinite. The loneliness, fears, and despondency of a melancholic human struggle is transformed, as a transcendental aural reflection dissipates into an ether of tears and joy. The inspired contradiction of this sadness leaves the listener of this music in a disposition of feeling an effervescent melancholia. - A.J. Ptak
A Lab is a Lab is a Lab
The Kitchen May 24, 2007 8pm. 512 West 19th Street, New York, NY.
A Lab is a Lab is a Lab curated by Bradley Eros and Matthew Lyons.
An evening of live projections and musical performances featuring unique collaborations between sound and image makers utilizing unusual instruments and sources including the theremin, brainwaves, photocells, oscilloscopes, X-rays, contact microphones, anamorphic lenses, and the magic lantern.
Participating artists Maria Chavez, Angie Eng, Bradley Eros, Andy Graydon, Sarah Ibrahim, Zach Layton, Anthony Ptak, Joel Schlemowitz, Lary Seven, Ray Sweeten, and Keiko Uenishi each perform solos and duets that explore the subversions and rediscoveries connecting science, mystery, and desire.
Media programs at The Kitchen are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
Cyrus Pireh and Anthony Ptak at Roulette NYC
Roulette Intermedium May 20, 2007 8:00 pm. 20 Greene Street between Canal and Grand Streets, SoHo, New York, NY.
"Cyrus Pireh is the world's greatest living electric guitarist. Anthony Jay Ptak is an experimental thereminist, artist, and composer." - Roulette.org
1. All Notes for guitar and theremin. Duration 20:00
2. Acrosynaptic for theremin and autoguitar. Duration 20:00
View description and photo.
Phonologistic Auralities 2007
Open Source Art April 21 - 22, 2007 12 E. Washington, Champaign, IL.
Sound art works by 13 sound artists. Runs continuous.
American Society for Cybernetics 2007 Conference
ASC March 29 to April 1, 2007 Urbana, IL. Constructivism, Design, Cybernetics: Radical, Social, 2nd-order. Independent Media Center 202 S. Broadway.
Acrosynaxis performance and presentation.
Sensorium Series at Issue Project Room
Theremin Society IV 2007 BAM Brooklyn Next Festival
Couplings: Likely, Unlikely and Actual
Theremeeting at La Dinamo in Madrid
Theremin Duo and solo performances with Javier Díez Ena Friday, January 19, 2007, 10:00 pm at Ladinamo Asociación Cultural, C/ Mira el Sol 2, Madrid (España).
Thanks to Javi-thereminista and Laura Díez Ena. Details available soon.
Announcement on portal para la difusión del arte sonoro.
Especial AV Lab in Madrid
American Ophoniste Idol 2006
Ophoniste silver medal in collaborative sound performance What Time is Love with Amy Granat. Included cell phone, broken glass, and utensils. Jury: Andrew Phillips (Flavorpill) Michael J Schumacher (Diapason) Nick Stillman (PS1).
American Ophoniste Idol Tuesday, November 21, 8:30pm at Monkey Town, 58 North 3rd Street between Blythe and Kent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
"The Four Ophones is an interactive sound installation that allows the users to record sounds that are replayed infinitely until replaced by other sounds. The installation provides a space for playful musical collaboration and language-independent conversations where the visitors themselves become composers, instrumentalists, and listeners at the same time. The Ophones foster everything from subtle interference etudes to collaborative chanting, semi-automated social commentary to dense polyrhythmic drone parties." - Unsworn
Sound Art for Sound Minds
Midwest Noise Festival - Noisefest!
Noisefest! October 20 - 22, 2006 - LNAC Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center 3301 Lemp Ave. St Louis, Missouri. Experimental Aesthetic and Composition Workshop.
Performance Sunday October 22, 2006 at 3:15 pm.
Curated by Mark Sarich.
Video 6:19 © 2006
Spellbound: a Program of Music for Theremin
Spellbound Axoxnxs is now featured on Cygnus Radio syndicated theremin podcast hosted by David Vesel.
Most recent broadcasts Sunday August 27, 2006, Sunday January 7, 2007.
Performance at Peter Jones Gallery
Benefit performance event for Chicago artist Patrick McCarthy.
September 1-2, 2006 7pm to 11pm at Peter Jones Gallery 1806 West Cuyler, 2nd Floor, Chicago, Illinois.
Informodulation A theremin antenna based sound art installation.
Experience this new media interactive art work at the Krannert Art Museum on view from August 24 through September 24, 2006 located at 500 East Peabody Drive, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
Informodulation. Mixed media (metal electrode, horn, oscillator.) I find an intuitive sense of electro-magnetism. I observe changes in the atmosphere. One is made aware of the perpetual syntactic flux of communal affect. The fragility of our environment is counter balanced only by the unpredictability of influence. Every decision made swings the pendulum into frenetic micro oscillations rendering macroscopic capacitance shifts. A society is prescient in the presence of an anti-communicative resonance that makes one necessary. Informodulation is our state of resistance wrapped in a valanced capacity for making an impossible social change by modulating the infrastructure of temporary systems we perceive in dissipation. Information presents itself. One interprets. Modulation results in an action one chooses to take. Each gesture is a provocation in a field of indexes. - AJ Ptak
Paste Magazine Feature
Theremin Photos featured in Paste Magazine article about the New York City Theremin Summit.
Issue 23, pages 20-21. On stands now! Radiohead on cover.
Photos of thereminist Anthony Ptak and the NYC Theremin Society by Alicia Hansen.
A Concert for Solo Theremin in La Granja, Spain
Art of Music Festival
The Art of Music STAC Exhibition July 15 to August 19, 2006 at Mills Pond House Gallery 660 Route 25A St. James, New York.
Copper Score, Copper Performance, Copper Pipe works and documents now on display.
Points in a Circle: Site-Specific Works for the Hemispheres at Issue Project Room
Points in a Circle July 8, 2006 8pm at Issue Project Room 400 Carroll Street between Bond and Nevins Brooklyn, New York. Site-specific work presented on IPR's 16-Channel Hemispheric Speaker System. Multi-oscillator polyphonic theremin performance with Cyrus Pireh, Stephan Moore, and David Linton.
Curated by Suzanne Fiol and Stephan Moore.
The End of Music. I recognize the end of music. As an artist I establish a relation without enforcing a relation. An audience, that is to say a public, ought never be captive. A space can be transformed by the unfamiliar in an arena of recognition. The work is the connection made by the receiver of information, the transmission is the catalyst for this exchange. My expectations are to modulate the signal of infrastructure, to utilize simple means to produce complex results. The theremin is electromagnetism, aether made present in the modulation of transformative wave energy that inducts and traces an exponential axis of gestural interference. The frequency of oscillation along a unified temporal axis, reflects a recursive bridging of distance in a soundscape of interference. We listen to the world as a system of associative indices. Sound is a physical axis that occupies and transforms space. The heterophony of the theremin antenna is navigation. - AJ Ptak
Aerodynamics of the Hovering Hummingbird: Science, Cinema, and Ways of Seeing
Millennium Film Workshop April 29, 2006 8pm at Millennium Film Workshop. 66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue) New York, New York. See the Millennium site.
Curated by Jennifer MacMillan and Bradley Eros.
Acrosynaxis performance for thereminvox
Utilizing the theremin's principle of interference to feed back into itself an exponential deconstruction of the instrument, the frequency of oscillation along a unified temporal axis, reflects a recursive bridging of distance in a soundscape of interference. Much like the 1000th of a second captured image of Warrick's hovering hummingbird, or the Kino-Glaz reality 24 times per second delineated by Dziga Vertov, or John Cage's Future of Music Credo which alludes to Beethoven as a material operating at 50 times per second and rejects imitative use of the theremin. This electro-acousmatic work concentrates on sound as a carrier of information. - AJ Ptak
New Picture from Millennium performance! (Photo by Peter Steinberg)
Phonologistic Auralities Sound Art Installation opens April 21, 2006 at Independent Media Center Urbana, Illinois.
Sound is an axis of information. - AJ Ptak
24-channel collaborative work in a former US postal facility with 13 of my sound artist students. Part of an immersive arts event Late Night Space curated by improviser Jason Finkelman for Boneyard Arts Festival. Sponsored by 40 North Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council.
Theremin Society Part III
Issue Project Room with Stephan Moore and Tres Silencio
Theremin Society/ Theremin Association
Theremin Presentation at Institute for Advanced Study
Wolfensohn Hall December 21, 2005 theremin presentation at IAS Princeton, New Jersey.
Thanks to artist-in-residence composer Jon Magnussen.
Theremin Orchestra December 2, 2005 8pm at Issue Project Room 400 Carroll Street between Bond and Nevins Brooklyn, New York
Thereminism. I use this term in order to differentiate a twenty-first century advocacy for the advancement of this antenna instrument of inventor Lev Termen from any fixed ideas. The theremin is electromagnetism, aether made present in the modulation of transformative wave energy that inducts and traces an exponential axis of gestural interference. - AJ Ptak
FFMUP at Princeton University
The Art of Music STAC Exhibition July 23 to August 27, 2005 at Mills Pond House Gallery 660 Route 25A St. James, New York.
This artwork is intended to evoke both the abstract and functional aspects of music. It is a visual representation of the physical space music occupies. It is also an instrument that can be played in any tuning configuration. Vibration is transferred from steel to wood. Many experiments were done using a device called a monochord inspired by the mathematician Pythagoras in the 6th century BC; it had one string used to measure ratios. Ekphonetic notation, to which the title refers, was one of the earliest attempts to systematize the way in which we hear (reception) and play music (transmission). This notation was based on speech and not exact pitch in Greece and Asia in the 5th to 7th centuries AD. Sulponticello means to play near or on the bridge of the instrument resulting in a sound with a voice-like rasp when bowed and more upper harmonic frequencies when plucked. With this instrument the artist seeks to create complex results from simple economical means. The work serves as a kinetic reference to the temporal (horizontal) and the timbral (vertical) aspects of a musical axis. The receiver of this work is encouraged to examine systems critically and to experiment as listener, observer, and composer in the world. - AJ Ptak
Theremin ther e min sometimes ter n -s [after Leo Theremin b. 1896 engineer and inventor]: a purely melodic instrument of the electronic family typically played by moving the right hand between two projecting electrodes with the left hand controlling dynamics and articulation - ther e min ist 1.
1.G & C Merriam Co. 1971 p. 2372 Webster's Third New International
The Copper Pipe Project
Copper Pipe invented instrument built 1995. An audience, that is to say a public, ought never be captive. In my public works I attempt to establish a relation without enforcing a relation. Listening is a way we navigate a space. This space can be transformed by the unfamiliar in the arena of recognition. The work is the connection made by the receiver of information, the transmission is the catalyst for this exchange. Related compositions include Incidentia.01 and American Copper.
American Copper composition written 2002, MAVerick Festival for Copper Pipe and bowed Berimbau. Related compositions include Incidentia.01.
See also Lycaena phlaeas.
Video 1:00 © 2002
Wavefields CD The Experimental Music Studios of UIUC, Fall 2005 release. Liner notes: Axoxnxs (2005) [7:00] This electro-acousmatic work concentrates on sound as a carrier of information. We listen to the world as a system of associative indices. The acoustics of the natural world are analyzed, along with synthetically generated phenomena. Sound is a physical axis that occupies and transforms space. The heterophony of the theremin antenna is navigation. All sonic materials acquired, performed, and assembled by the composer. - AJ Ptak
Theremin: Art meets Technology
axoxnxs ™ Anthony Jay Ptak
© 2000 2015 A. Ptak axoxnxs all rights reserved.